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Chester Rogers (Hopefully) Regains WR3 Role with Sunday’s Performance

A summer hamstring injury cost Chester Rogers his spot as the Colts’ WR3. After his performance against the Steelers, he needs it back.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On Sunday, we finally got to see from Chester Rogers what we have been waiting for since the end of the 2016 season. He had his breakout game against the Steelers, catching a 61-yard touchdown in the third quarter en route to his first career 100-yard game.

As a rookie last season, Rogers stepped in as the Colts’ kickoff and punt return specialist when Quan Bray was lost for the season. Rogers also earned a spot on offense in the passing game, seeing 35 targets throughout the season, catching 19 for 273 yards. His playmaking ability was evident, as he routinely ran creatively on returns and was able to generate yards after the catch as a receiver.

Rogers seemed to be hitting his stride by season’s end, and it made us anxiously await seeing him this season. During the spring and summer, he was undoubtedly the team’s third receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. However, a hamstring injury in training camp cost Rogers several weeks, and Kamar Aiken moved into Rogers’ WR3 spot. Aiken has been painfully unproductive to this point, catching just 14-of-37 targets for 131 yards and no touchdowns.

Aiken suffered a hamstring injury last week, and it led to him being out against the Steelers. Re-enter Rogers. From the jump, he was a focus of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. All in all, Rogers caught 6-of-6 targets for 104 yards and his first career touchdown.

Was Rogers’ performance against Pittsburgh enough to get him his spot in the pecking order back? Without a doubt! Rogers has a knack for the big play that Aiken does not have.

I would love to tell you that it’s an easy decision for head coach Chuck Pagano and the coaching staff, but they infamously make things difficult on a regular basis. Rogers taking a back seat again to Aiken would be a crime.

Colts Top Three WR Snap Distribution

Player Average Snaps Average Percentage
Player Average Snaps Average Percentage
TY Hilton 58.0 89.5%
Donte Moncrief 50.2 78.2%
Kamar Aiken 49.6 75.5%

Considering Aiken is on the field quite often and Rogers has proven his impact, the Colts could really get a shot in the arm by putting Rogers into the mix with Hilton and Moncrief.

This may be farfetched. However, roll with me on this. Moncrief — while he’s had some highlight plays this year — is obviously underperforming. Part of it is having a young quarterback in a new system, but he also did this with Andrew Luck. Moncrief is averaging 2.0 catches for 33.8 yards per game, which is simply not enough production from a WR2. He is also due to become an unrestricted free agent following this season. Due to the inconsistency and lack of production, it’s anybody’s guess if he gets re-signed.

If Rogers continues to show chemistry with Brissett and subsequent productivity, does he begin to get the WR2 snaps ahead of Moncrief? We’ll have to stay tuned.